In the small, but beautiful town of Lawrenceburg, Tennessee lays 1,100 acres of forest, wildlife, and waterfalls. A place of history and proud patronage. The place where Davy Crockett built his empire as a pioneer, soldier, politician, and industrialist.
That is where I went to have my most recent Walden experience. Two days living in a tent, out in the woods, surrounded by nature and wildlife (and crazy raccoons that tried to break into the tent, I kid you not).
I love the outdoors and I am lucky that my boyfriend shares that love. We spent the two days hiking, fishing, and sitting by the campfire. However, an unfortunate occurrence (a sentiment not shared by my boyfriend) was the fact that we had full service on our phones, and my laptop had a full charge to watch scary movies.
I have never been a person that absolutely had to have my phone, or any personal electronic device. If I don’t have my phone on me, the only thing I would worry about is my alarm clock. Sometimes, I even find solace in the times when I can’t be on my phone.
This is why I call having access to these devices unfortunate. In this day and age, we are surrounded by electronics and technology, bombarded with constant messages and prosumptional discourse. Some people are content with this never ceasing stream of information, I am not one of them. I scroll through my Facebook and my mental process goes something like, “No one cares, no one cares, stupid drama, she’s pregnant, they’re engaged, he knows nothing about politics,
he’s a snob, oh and she’s pregnant again.”
The digital environment provides freedom, it provides openness, and all those things are well and good. But what about when that influx of stuff becomes so engrossing and draining that I literally feel like I cannot function properly?
The digital world is just that, it’s another world. Some people escape to it, some people hide from it, some people do a little of both. Sometimes, it seems that people forget that it’s a different world. In many ways, it’s a manipulative world. How many times have arguments started on the internet? How many times have people gotten agitated by something they’ve seen, lost faith in people because of something they’ve seen, felt worse about themselves because of something they’ve seen? I only ask because the only answer I can give is: a lot.
People get so caught up in the magic that the internet presents to us. It’s something so mind-blowing, so revolutionary, so debilitating in its power that we forget the world we live in (and yes I know I sound like an old person telling kids to get off their phones and go do something, ANYTHING!) But honestly, when Henry David Thoreau wrote Walden, he felt the same way I do sometimes: cut off from the real world, the world we live in, the world we criticize constantly.
It doesn’t seem like many people just LIVE anymore. So in the midst of the dawn of the digital age, it’s important to remember that there’s more out there. Other people may not find peace or a haven away from the digital environment in the same way I do. Maybe their Walden isn’t out in the woods, maybe it’s at a concert, or on a roadtrip, or some other place.
But wherever it is, find it and get back to it every now and then. That’s the only way to find the balance to keep everyone sane in this world.